Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


Through the exploration of six key thematic areas, this unit introduces students to the drivers and consequences of the most significant environmental challenges of our time, in addition to critically assessing the basis for potential solutions. Essential concepts in environmental physics, chemistry and biology are introduced throughout each module to develop essential knowledge and skills within the broader context of environmental science. This material forms the basis of more focused content delivered in Levels 2 and 3 of the Environmental Science and Geographical Science majors.

The unit content is delivered through modules related to: climate change and carbon pollution; catchment development and water resource management; biodiversity loss and conservation; land degradation; coastal systems; and cities. Through these lenses, the unit looks to explain lessons from the past using both local and global examples to ensure students establish the connection between environmental processes and the manifestation of environmental degradation and recovery. Tutorial sessions are included to complement key lectures to encourage students to participate in activities related to problem identification and conceptualisation, and critical assessment of diverse information sources. In addition, each module has a component related to data analysis and the development of written and oral communication skills.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 1AlbanyFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 core unit in the Environmental Science; Environmental Science and Management; Environmental Management; Environmental Science and Ecology major sequences
  • Level 1 option in the Social and Environmental Sustainability major sequence

Students are able to (1) develop a broad understanding of the main drivers of environmental degradation from a scientific, social, cultural and economic perspective across local, regional and global scales; (2) gain knowledge of the core environmental processes in terrestrial, atmospheric and marine systems that are relevant in shaping the quality of environmental systems; (3) be able to critically assess both qualitative and quantitative environmental data to identify significant changes in environmental conditions; (4) report on potential solutions, both technology based and management-orientated approaches, for restoring degraded environments and how they differ between developed and developing nations; and (5) appreciate the impact of social, economic and cultural differences when designing strategies for long term management of environmental pollution across local, regional and global scales.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) oral presentation; (2) three quizzes; and (3) literature review. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Deirdre Gleeson
Contact hours
lectures: 2 x 1 hour per week
workshops: 2 hours per week
Students taking this unit have free access to the E-book and E-Resource 'Environment: Science, Issues, Solutions' by Molles and Borrell. This text is the prescribed reading for the unit and via LMS students access their own copy of the E-Book and E-Resources to support their learning program. E-Resources includes videos, animations, learning support question banks, additional case study reading material and sample quizzes. Students taking this unit do not need to purchase any further text books.
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.